Disaster Recovery (DR) is a term that strikes emotional chords throughout most organizations. For most companies, it is seen as a necessary evil with a huge price tag, and often dubious confidence that it will really work when needed. For some, DR is proudly viewed as a strategic initiative beginning at the application design phase. Wherever you are on the scale, DR is not a simple subject. But with Cloud computing and the emergence of Disaster Recovery as a Service, DR capabilities and options exist that would have been technically and financially unavailable to many businesses in the past. However, it is important to keep it real and ensure you are getting good value for your DR investment.

Keep it Simple

First, realize that not all data and applications have the same priority. It might seem simpler to just include everything, and while at a level it may be, that is going to be a far more expensive solution. What you want to focus on is the data and applications that must remain in service for you to be in business. For example, an online bank might be able to go for some time without signing up new customers, but if existing customers cannot get to their accounts, they will soon be ex-customers! DR is complicated enough without trying to boil the ocean. Just tackle that pond or lake that represents your core business that must always be available.

Keep it Serviceable

Working with a Disaster Recovery as a Service provider is different from going it alone and building out your own remote site data center. When selecting a service provider, focus on how their capabilities meet your requirements, which of course means you must know what your requirements are. Ultimately, you will have a DR plan that documents everything from end-to-end, both what resources are needed and the steps required to get service restored. While defining the requirements portion of your plan, you can begin the selection process for a provider. Keep in mind they need to have the physical capacity to meet your requirements, as well as the technical expertise to execute your plan.

Keep it Solid

When you engage with a service provider for Disaster Recovery as a Service, they will become an integral part of your recovery process. While they will bring a level of expertise and experience to the arrangement, you must view them as any other third-party vendor or supplier in your organization. Vetting them on security practices, service commitments and hiring standards are still part of the equation. You need to be confident that they meet your standards, or appropriate risk management steps need to be taken. They may be experts on providing DR services in a Cloud computing model, but you remain accountable for managing your company’s data and reputation.

Keep it Sensible

Anything is possible with enough time and money. This is true in DR as well. But time and money are both targets to be minimized in a recovery scenario, not viewed as unlimited! Outrageous amounts of money can buy realtime hot site DR for every application you have, but makes no sense. Likewise, taking a month or two to rebuild your environment and restore applications and data is not going to cut it for vital applications. DR, like any other IT project, needs to be a business decision based on the same risk vs reward proposition that should drive business decisions. What is an appropriate DR investment when considering the cost of recovery in contrast of being out of service? Only you can determine that for your company.

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